One of things we are told we have to do when we start working the 1st step is accept our alcoholism. There’s a fabulous page in the Big Book (it used to be p.449, I think it’s p.417 now) that says, ‘Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.’ When I was new, people were constantly telling me to read that page. Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance…
It used to make me really angry, because like most newcomers, accepting my addiction (or anything else in my life) was not high on my priority list and I found it difficult to see how acceptance was going to fix the fact that I had real problems…like being broke, like needing a place to live, like all the people who had thrown up their hands in desperation and walked out of my life. Since being new, I have sat in many meetings on acceptance, and I always hear it is always put (during discussions) into an emotional context. For example:
“I have to accept my alcoholism, but I don’t have to like it.”
“I am accepting success as it comes, but it feels uncomfortable.”
I had a sponsor when I was new (the nasty one!) who used to bark out that another phrase for acceptance was WELCOME TO REALITY. Acceptance is nothing more than being fully aware and present of what is real in any given moment. It is what it is. I don’t like that I worked for ten hours on a proposal for someone last week, putting aside all my other responsibilities and that they haven’t had the courtesy to call me back. SO WHAT? I don’t like it. But that has nothing to do with acceptance. I can roll around in that emotional attachment if that’s what I want to do. Sometimes I do that. But more often that not these days, I try not to have an emotional attachment to my reality…why? Because I have experienced that there is a greater power at work in my life and that everything is exactly as it is meant to be, whether I understand it or not.
It is what it is.
When you get there, it’s easy to work the 1st step. Here is the reality of my physical, financial, emotional, spiritual life today. Here is where it’s working. Here is where it’s unmanageable.
It is what it is. SO WHAT, NOW WHAT?
How you feel about reality is irrelevant (in A.A.). That’s a therapy thing. If you want to explore your feelings or dwell in your inner child and how you got to where you got, that’s fine…I have no problem with that. But it’s not A.A. Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of action. It’s the SO WHAT, NOW WHAT. Moving on…don’t get stuck…don’t stay here (in what’s unmanageable or in what you aren’t pleased with.)
Move on for God’s sake. And for your own. You can always come back to therapy, but for now, just act right. That’s it. It’s that simple. When I started really living in the idea that it is what it is, and I began to make acceptance a part of my daily practice. When acceptance becomes a spiritual tool (and it will, if you practice it) the natural next right thing is to ask ourselves SO WHAT, NOW WHAT?